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Questions To Ask Before Joining The Family Business


wealthymattersEven as there are plenty of people who effortlessly slide into satisfying roles in the family business and go onto growing it and successfully passing it down yet another generation,there are plenty of people who have regrets.Regrets about joining the family business or regrets about inducting a family member into the family business. In the worst case scenario,family businesses have to be split,forsaking the synergies that were taken for granted when the consequent parts were one whole or worse yet,families themselves have acrimonious splinters and end up losing everything they had.

A way to avoid unnecessary pain,is simply to reflect deeply before adding a business angle to family relationships and having the necessary conversations in an open manner instead of avoiding them,only to find oneself in the midst of bigger problems.

Following Are Questions To Ask Yourself Before Entering The Family Business:

1. What is your motivation to join the family business?

Motivations could range from “My family expects me to’’ to ‘Its my duty” to “I owe it to the founder” to “It’s my best shot at the top.’’ There is no one right motivation and sometimes a few are in play, but what’s important is that you articulate your reasons and make sure they are good enough to ensure that later in life you don’t regret not having struck out on your own and doing your own thing.Things that the rest of your family might never consider doing……That you don’t feel that you gave up on your own opportunities to shoulder obligations and meet the expectations of family.

2.Are the personal relationships among your family members healthy enough?

Family owners don’t always have to always be in absolute agreement about everything, but they do need to make good decisions together. Do you see evidence that your family members can make good decisions together about the future of the family business? Is there evidence that family members will be transparent and constructive with you? Do you think the range of important people ie parents, siblings, and cousins will support you during the inevitable crises that befall every business and career? And in the future, do you think your own relationships in the family can withstand the pressures of working together?

3.Are you OK with being treated differently?

Non-family employees tend to watch family members closely. How you behave will reflect, for better or worse, on the whole family. You will be “special” and will never be treated as you would be in an outside corporation. That’s not always an easy thing. And the spotlight doesn’t shut down when you leave the business at night. The standard barriers between your work and your personal life will be blurred, and the scrutiny on how well you are doing will be strong from both sides. Can you live with this?

 

Following Are The Questions To Ask The People Who Head Your Family Business :

1.How do you see my career path?

You need to understand how your career will develop in the family business. So ask what thought your family business leaders have given to how you will grow and develop in the family business. Who will develop and evaluate you once you join the family business? What happens if you don’t work out well in this particular job? And what are their thoughts on how a transition of leadership will work down the line? How will you know you’re succeeding?

2.Is there a path to ownership?

You need to ask, not just assume, where you fit into the business’s current and future ownership structure. So ask who owns the family business now? What are the plans, if any, to pass ownership to the next generation? How do the current leaders imagine they will formally hand off ownership control at some point? Are they considering adding any non-family owners? Do you have to work in the business to become a future owner ,or benefit from ownership and will the same rules apply to any other relatives in future? Is there a shareholder’s agreement you can read to understand the rules of ownership?

3.What is the current leadership’s vision for the company?

It’s essential that you understand, and ideally share, the current leadership’s plans for the business. So ask what they envision the business will look like in 20 years? Whether they want to grow it, milk it for cash, or something in between? What is the company doing now to reinvent itself and stay relevant over the long term? What can you do to help support the company’s future and contribute to its continued success? How do family members ensure that personal relationship stays healthy, no matter how your career in the family business works out?

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About Keerthika Singaravel
Engineer,Investor,Businessperson

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